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Voxx celebrates 25 years ... and other business briefs


Voxx rings in silver anniversary

Voxx International Corp., a Hauppauge company that makes consumer electronics, rang in the anniversary of its 25th year as a publicly traded company Monday afternoon. Company CEO Patrick Lavelle and chairman John Shalam were in Times Square at 4 p.m. Tuesday to ring the closing bell for the Nasdaq Stock Market, indicating the end of the trading day. Voxx was founded by Shalam in 1967 as a maker of car stereos; the company later expanded its product range. The company went public in 1987 and traded on the American Stock Exchange before moving to the Nasdaq in 2000. Its shares closed at $6.46 Tuesday, unchanged. Voxx has a market value of around $150 million. -- Lisa Du


Amgen settles federal case

Amgen will pay $762 million to settle litigation that accuses the drugmaker of marketing the anemia drug Aranesp for unapproved uses. A law firm involved in the case says the Thousand Oaks, Calif., company will pay a $612-million civil settlement, $136 million in criminal fines and a $14-million forfeiture. Amgen Inc. says it entered a conditional guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of misbranding Aranesp. The company took a $780-million charge last year for a possible settlement. Amgen develops biologic medicines, or drugs produced by living cells rather than by mixing chemicals. Its settlement marks the latest between the U.S. Department of Justice and a drugmaker over improper marketing allegations. Doctors can prescribe drugs for unapproved uses, but companies aren't allowed to market drugs for those uses.

Housing outlook at 6.5-year high

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders inched up this month, to the highest level in more than six and a half years, as builders reported the best market for newly built homes since the housing boom. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday increased 2 points to 47 from a revised 45 in November. That's the highest reading since April 2006, just before the housing bubble burst. Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The last time the index was at or above that level was in April 2006, with a reading of 51. It has been trending higher since October 2011, when it stood at 17. The latest index, which is based on responses from 441 builders, reflects growing optimism that a turnaround in housing will endure after years of stagnation.

Nielsen ratings expand to radio

Nielsen, the dominant source of TV ratings, said Tuesday it had agreed to buy Arbitron for about $1.26 billion to expand into radio measurement. Arbitron pays 70,000 people to carry around gadgets that register what stations they're listening to. Since Nielsen also collects cash-register data, CEO David Calhoun said buying Arbitron will let Nielsen be a one-stop shop for advertisers who want to know how the radio advertising they buy affects product sales. The acquisition will let Nielsen expand the amount of media consumption it tracks from about two hours per person per day to five hours, Calhoun said. -- AP


Steep energy duties for China

The United States pressed forward Tuesday with plans to slap steep punitive duties on wind turbine towers from China, keeping up friction on the clean energy front as it welcomed a high-level Chinese delegation for trade and economic talks. The U.S. Commerce Department set final anti-dumping duties ranging from 44.99 to 70.63 percent on utility-scale towers manufactured in China to offset what it said was unfairly low pricing and additional countervailing duties of 21.86 to 34.81 percent to combat Chinese government subsidies. The action came as a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Wang Qishan was in Washington for the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting, a forum to address barriers to trade and investment.-- Reuters

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